Thanks to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, the amount of published paranormal romances seems to have exploded. But she was certainly not the first of this genre, paranormal romance even a part of ancient mythology and various cultural folklore. Just think of Cupid and Psyche from Metamorphoses for instance with the tale of a god falling in love with a mortal. (Metamorphoses has several other examples as well.)

Paranormal, supernatural, mystical love stories are archetypal and are more than just what’s labeled as part of the genre. Even classic films with ghostly love stories can be found. And tales of forbidden love between a vampire and a human are now common in television as well. Basically, paranormal romance has been going on probably since the beginning of stories and I don’t think that’s ever going to end, whatever the medium of choice in modern day.

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Since I believe the term “paranormal romance,” to be quite broad, I personally prefer the paranormal romance novels that don’t read like a ‘romance’ novel. The typical setup of ripping bodices and women falling into bed after a few chapters doesn’t interest me. What captivates me about paranormal romances are the impossible aspects these relationships offer. The potential themes of redemption (for say a dark hero or heroine that’s some kind of monster), star-crossed love that appears impossible or obstacles that stand in the way of a happy ending (like between a ghost and a human or say a pie maker and a girl he brings back from the dead), and even themes about immortality versus mortality. Obstacles are what make for the greatest love stories whether it be a supernatural one or otherwise.

But before I continue, what do I mean exactly by “paranormal romance?” I actually think that Wikipedia spells it out rather clearly:

“Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond the more prevalent themes involving vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel, paranormal romances can also include books featuring characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction.”

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Honestly, I think that the connection between paranormal romances and Gothic fiction is another reason I feel so drawn to this genre and the fantastic nature of these tales (they can be very similar in themes). I love the unearthly atmosphere to these stories (as a kind of callback to books like Jane Eyre), though I think sometimes they can drift a little too close to the erotic than I would prefer. I want deeper, soul connections between the characters. Hence when I decided to compile a list of what I consider to be some of the best paranormal romances in all story mediums from literature to film, I wanted to try and choose a variety of what is considered some of the best, while still remaining as true to myself as I possibly could so this list will read very differently from most.

Also, while time travel is essentially considered part of the genre, I decided to mostly leave that for a future list. And because paranormal romance constantly crosses over into urban fantasy, I will probably have some that are a little blurred. Basically, as long as there’s enough focus on the love story, I put it under consideration into what I label a paranormal romance. I don’t care if it is third person, first person, a film, etc.: just an otherworldly love story from angels, vampires, aliens, witches, to zombies that are set in the real world (so no high fantasy or very much fairy tale for this one).

Without further delay, I give you my top 65 choices for paranormal romances in film, literature, and television in no particular order:

65 Paranormal Romances

Note: Some of these books/shows include mature content.

#1: Pushing Daisies

He brings people back from the dead; she’s one of them. Photo: ABC

#2: Wuthering Heights 

Together their love overcomes death in this ghostly adaptation. Photo: Paramount

#3: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

The ending is certainly open to interpretation but I see this as a dark supernatural love story.

#4: The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

I personally love Dmitri and can’t wait for the film.

#5: The Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (spinoff of Vampire Academy).

I love the alchemist and the vampire together. Might even be better than the original series.

#6: What Dreams May Come

About a man searching for his wife in the afterlife. Photo: Polygram

#7: The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause 

One of the first YA paranormal romances about a human and a vampire.

#8: Warm Bodies

I haven’t read the book yet but I love this well-written romance between a human and a zombie. Photo: Summit

#9: Tuck Everlasting 

This adaptation is a lovely romance about a mortal and an immortal; I didn’t choose the book because Winnie is too young… Photo: Walt Disney

#10: The Vampire Diaries (the original series) by LJ Smith. 

I grew up on these.

#11: The Vampire Diaries TV series

Photo: CW

#12: Dark Visions by L.J. Smith 

A great example of a YA Byronic Hero and an entertaining romance about teens with psychic gifts.

#13: The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith 

My favorite of hers; a book I read endlessly as a teenager and still do from time to time. It is about a coven of witches.

#14: The Originals 

The romance between the werewolf Hayley and vampire Elijah is particularly compelling. Photo: CW

#15: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White 

About a whole world of paranormals including a great romance with a shapeshifter.

#16: Kindred The Embraced

Several love stories in this short-lived vampire TV series but my favorite is the romance between a human reporter and the vampire prince of the city. Photo: Fox

#17: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

A wonderful classic romantic ghost story. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

#18: Tithe by Holly Black 

This is an awesome choice for those who love faeries; the best part is the changeling Roiben, a mysterious knight.

#19: Die for Me (Revenants) by Amy Plum 

I love the Paris setting for this YA paranormal romance.

#20: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I like BOTH the movie and book equally. A very intriguing romance between an alien and two humans. Photo: Open Road Films

#21: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer 

I enjoyed the first book the most!

#22: Twilight 

I definitely thought the first film was by far the best out of all the adaptations. Photo: Summit

#23: Starman 

A love story between an alien and a human. Photo: Columbia

#24: The Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs

One of the genre’s best for sure!

#25: Heaven Can Wait starring Warren Beatty

Photo: Paramount

#26: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo 

This just debuted this year but it is fantastic with a truly compelling paranormal love story I can’t give away.

#27: Thor and Thor: The Dark World 

I adore this alien/human romance that really picks up in the second film. Photo: Marvel

#28: The Sookie Stackhouse books (except for the last few) by Charlaine Harris 

For me, this is all about Eric, the Viking vampire.

#29: True Blood seasons 1-4 

Can’t say fairy Sookie doesn’t have a great choice of paranormal creatures… Photo: HBO

#30: Sunshine by Robin McKinley 

This vampire romance is pure magic.

#31: Splash 

I remember watching this as a kid and loving the mermaid/human love story. However, as an adult, I noticed there’s quite a bit of sexism in this one. Photo: Touchstone

#32: Practical Magic 

I haven’t read the novel by Alice Hoffman yet but I thought this film was adorable, including the witch romance with her soul mate. Photo: Warner Brothers

#33: The Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews 

A little more on the verge of fantasy than the typical paranormal romance but it is REALLY interesting.

#34: Portrait of Jennie

One of my favorite paranormal love stories of classic film. Photo: MGM

#35: Charmed 

Several great love stories in this witch drama but the romance between Piper and her whitelighter [think guardian angel] Leo is fantastic. Andy and Prue are shown above. Photo: WB

#36: The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare 

My personal favorite part is between Clary’s mother and the werewolf Luke.

#37: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I was entertained especially by Aidan Turner as Luke. Photo: Sony Pictures

#38: Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld Series

Looking forward to the TV production of Bitten.

#39: Just Like Heaven

A very sweet and funny romantic comedy. Photo: Dreamworks

#40: Death Takes a Holiday

Even Death needs some love… Photo: Paramount

#41: Meet Joe Black

A sort of remake of “Death Takes A Holiday.” Photo: Universal Pictures

#42: Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler 

I loved this angel romance when I was a teenager.

#43: Drop Dead Diva 

A great switcheroo heaven story but my favorite part is between Jane’s guardian angel, Fred and her best friend Stacy. Photo: Lifetime

#44: Casper

Who else swooned [ I was 12] when Casper asked if he could keep her?)…Photo: Universal

#45: Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 

I liked the Gothic elements of this paranormal romance about casters.

#46: Beautiful Creatures 

I rather enjoyed this adaptation, especially with Emma Thompson as the villain. Photo: Alcon Entertainment

#47: Blood and Chocolate 

I like the novel too but I really appreciated the change with the human played by Hugh Dancy. This is a werewolf paranormal romance. Photo: MGM

#48: Roswell

This is definitely one of the best TV paranormal romances out there that just gets it right with a love story between alien Max and human Liz. The romance between Michael and Maria is equally as good. Photo: WB

#49: The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine

#50: Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Ahead of its time, this love story about an immortal trying to break his curse is amazing. Photo: Kino International

#51: Being Human UK

One of the best vampire shows ever written!. Also, I loved the relationship between Byronic vampire Mitchell and the wholesome ghost Annie. Photo: BBC

#52: I Married A Witch

A good comedy fantasy starring Veronica Lake. Photo: Paramount

#53: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb 

A fascinating ghost love story.

#54: Moonlight 

The romance between human mortal Beth and immortal vampire Mick is one of my faves. I just love the themes and the chemistry. Photo: CBS

#55: The Green…books by Alice Hoffman

An unusual choice but I just love how literary these novels are.

#56: Ghost 

Super sad and romantic still… Photo: Paramount

#57: The Fallen series by Lauren Kate

If you love tales about fallen angels, this one is a great choice because the characters really draw you in.

#58: Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

Between Angel and Spike in competition for the slayer, there is never a dull moment. Photo: WB

#59: Dracula (1992)

A great adaptation that really focused on the romance. Photo: Columbia

#60: The TV series Dracula 

While it seems most don’t agree with me, I think this is a fantastic steampunk version of Dracula with a very likable romance between Mina and him. Photo: NBC

#61: Doctor Who Series 1-4 

The subtle love story between the Doctor, a Time Lord, and human Rose is just beautiful in every way possible. Photo: BBC

#62: Corpse Bride 

Just pure fun Burton entertainment. Photo: Warner Brothers

#63: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

I just couldn’t put this down. A very, well written and researched paranormal fantasy about a witch and a vampire.

#64: Let the Right One In 

A dark, yet somehow still compelling vampire love story. Photo: Magnolia

#65: Blood Ties 

Both the TV show and books are good fun and Henry Fitzroy makes for a fabulous vampire. The show is hilarious thanks to Vicki’s great wit. Photo: Lifetime

Agree? Disagree with my choices? If you have some paranormal recommendations, sound off below…

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Don’t miss our Reviews of The Ghost BrideThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesThe Originals and Dracula.

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